Friday, November 28, 2008

Twice Upon a Marigold

Ferris, Jean. 2008. Twice upon a Marigold. Harcourt: Orlando.

Twice Upon a Marigold is the follow-up story to the multiple award-winning bestseller, Once Upon a Marigold (one of my favorites). The story continues the saga of Princess, (now Queen) Marigold and Prince Christian after the tyrant, Queen Olympia's, "unfortunate" disappearance into the river on their wedding day.

Twice Upon a Marigold continues the tongue-in-cheek humor of the original. Reading the "Daily Discourse," Marigold remarks,

"Look at that. Alison Wonderland has gotten lost again. That girl just never learns."

There are not enough new fairy tale funnies, however, to match the original book. "P mail," (pigeon messages), and Marigold's penchant for bad jokes, are holdovers from the previous book. Additionally, the moral messages in Twice Upon a Marigold are delivered a little heavy-handedly. When Lazy Susan is demoted to a job as a scullery maid, Mrs. Clover questions her and takes her to task,

"'How are those kettles coming along?' she asked pointedly. 'They're repulsive,' Lazy Susan said. 'That's true,' Mrs. Clover agreed. 'But getting them clean is a necessity. And a great accomplishment. Something to be proud of.' ...

Always before she'd been content to avoid effort of any kind, and she hadn't cared who knew it. But the things Mrs. Clover had said to her made her feel . . . maybe ashamed? Or chastened? Or embarrassed? Whatever it was, it wasn't a good feeling."

A surprise twist at the end regarding the royal dressmaker and chef - the magically handy, foreign language expert, Stan Lucasa, adds some last-minute humor. A quick, fun read for middle-grades, but not on par with the original.

Once Upon a Marigold was the winner of multiple awards including: ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Notable Children’s Book, and Voice for Youth Advocates (VOYA) Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers

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